LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bob Dylan, Kesha and Valerie June are among the musicians and singers reimagining classic love songs as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender anthems in a new album released on Thursday.
The six-song “Universal Love” album is meant to give the community songs that reflect their own gender identity by flipping pronouns or having male and female singers reverse traditional roles.
Dylan, the Nobel Prize-winning composer and performer, covers “He’s Funny That Way,” a standard sung by Ella Fitzgerald and Diana Ross that has also been part of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby’s songbooks as “She’s Funny That Way.”
Guitarist and singer St. Vincent, who has said publicly she identifies as neither gay nor straight, performs “And Then She Kissed Me,” a version of girl group The Crystals’ 1963 hit “Then He Kissed Me.”
“The great thing about music is that it transcends all the barriers and boundaries, and goes right to peoples’ hearts,” St. Vincent said. “And everyone has a heart.”
Other songs on the album include pop star Kesha’s “I Need a Woman to Love Me,” a version of Janis Joplin’s “I Need a Man to Love” and blues-folk singer Valerie June’s “Mad About the Girl,” a cover of Dinah Washington’s “Mad About the Boy.”
Singers Ben Gibbard of indie rock groups Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, and Keke Okereke of British rock group Bloc Party also contributed to the album.
The album is backed by MGM Resorts International, Interpublic Group of Companies’ ad agency McCann and Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music.
The hospitality company was a backer of same-sex commitment ceremonies at its properties prior to the legalization of gay marriage across the United States in 2015.
Reporting by Eric Kelsey